NIC Identifies Gaps In Contract Negotiations

By: Antoinette Sendolo

The government of Liberia represented by the National Investment Commission in collaboration with the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance has finally ended its fourth Workshop on Contract Negotiation Support for Developing Host Countries.

The just ended workshop which brought together several partners including African government officials, investors, and lawyers as well as representatives of existing initiatives, members of civil society, donors and multilateral organizations reached a consensus on what is referred to as the MONROVIA DECLARATION.

The workshop provided a forum for discussion about a concrete organizational approach for support for developing host countries as they prepare, negotiate or monitor complex contracts for large-scale investments like in natural resource or infrastructure projects.

According to a release, the Monrovia Declaration recognizes that there are important gaps when it comes to strengthening the capacity of least developed country governments as they prepare to negotiate and monitor large-scale complex contracts for large-scale investment projects.

In order to address these gaps in the most adequate and effective manner, it has been decided to pursue three complementary approaches in order to improve existing negotiation support and those approaches include  Information-sharing and Coordination Mechanism and  Contract Negotiation Support Centre amongst others.

Meanwhile, a Task Force has been mandated to elaborate and shape the approaches and support their implementation and the secretariat of the Task Force will be based at the HUMBOLDT-VIADRJI’JA School of Governance in Berlin.

However, the  MONROVIA DECLARATION also alluded to the improvements that the Government of Liberia has made in the governance environment of the extractive industries particularly  Liberia was among the first African countries to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process.

The release however shows that the MONROVIA DECLARATION   also creatively incorporated the forestry sector in its framework, which is called Liberia-EITI (LEITI).

Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia, through the National Investment Commission Chairman, Hon. Natty B. Davis understands and appreciates the complexities of negotiation.

He noted that the country is therefore proud to be at the forefront of international discussions that could yield in the creation of a new mechanism to fill the existing gaps in support provided to developing host country governments, who lack the capacity to fully address the issues and challenges related to the natural resource governance environment.